Utah State's Elle Brainard Earns All-Mountain West Volleyball Honors
Thursday, Dec. 05, 2013
Utah State volleyball player Elle Brainard became the first Aggie volleyball player to earn all-Mountain West Conference honors, as the league's all-conference team, as selected by the league’s 11 head coaches and announced Tuesday by the conference office.
Samantha Peters, of MW Champion Colorado State was named MW Player of the Year, while Rams' head coach Tom Hilbert was selected MW Coach of the Year. New Mexico’s Julia Warren was named MW Freshman of the Year and Fresno State's Holly Franks was voted MW Newcomer of the Year.
“I am happy that Elle was recognized by our conference for her achievements,” USU head coach Grayson DuBose said. “I always look at these as awards for our whole team, she doesn’t get this recognition if she isn’t surrounded by great teammates that helped her along the way, and I know that Elle feels that same way.”
Despite finishing third in their first season in the Mountain West after being tabbed fourth in the preseason poll, the Aggies’ one all-conference honoree is the first time since 2009 that USU did not have multiple all-conference honorees.
Brainard, a sophomore outside hitter from Saratoga Springs, Utah (Westlake HS), earned second-team all-Western Athletic Conference honors last season, as well as the WAC Freshman of the Year and named to the WAC's all-freshman team. She becomes the Aggies’ second back-to-back all-conference honoree in as many seasons, after Shay Sorensen earned all-WAC honors in 2011 and 2012. Overall, Brainard is the seventh player to earn multiple all-conference honors in head coach Grayson DuBose’s eight seasons as head coach.
This season, Brainard averaged 3.45 points, 3.00 kills and 0.88 blocks per set, posting a .228 (339-131-911) attack percentage. She was 10th in the MW in overall kills per set and 12th in overall points per set, as well as ninth in MW only in points per set and 11th in MW only in kills per set. Her 21 kills against UNLV on Oct. 26 is the 10th highest single-match total in the MW this season.
Brainard’s career-high 21 kills was one of her 17 matches this season with double-digit kills, as well as logging over a .300 attack percentage in eight matches. She recorded a .500 attack percentage or better three times this year, highlighted by a season-high .533 in the season-finale versus Nevada on Nov. 26. Brainard also had 16 matches with three or more blocks.
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